Letter from Yolanda to her son Matteo -
    They came on boats, bringing with them diseases and destruction of our harmony. They took our land and we were banished to the high hills where the corn didn’t grow. Told us we had no souls and worshiped false gods. Centuries of slavery, exploitation, violence against women followed. They took our power. It is time to call upon the wisdom of our ancestors and awaken our people. To start projects by our people, for our people. Transforming our desolate smoke filled kitchens into communal cooking spaces that warm our homes. Giving us skills of self empowerment and self employment. Creating spaces to work together. To cook, eat, share, laugh, pray. To let the warmth of the sun enter our communities again. Listen to the mountains. Let them be your guide. Son, you are the breath of history. Our wisdom, knowledge and power lives on through you. Without you, it cannot be.

This project was commissioned by Fundación Mashcana. This grassroots organization empowers the indigenous communities of Ecuador after centuries of colonization.

All Images © Eva Verbeeck